Posted by: fitartist | July 21, 2014

A Weekend of 100s

What a great weekend! On Saturday we celebrated our 100th Hilly Fields parkrun. It’s hard to believe that 100 runs have been and gone, it’s flown by! So that’s 300 times up The Hill!

The Hill in Lego :)

The Hill in Lego :)

We don’t have anyone who has run all 100, but we do have many of our regulars reaching their 50th parkrun and receiving their 50 t-shirt (I’m one of them, with just four runs to go until I reach 50, more celebrations!). On Saturday I headed up the hill with Hector and we helped to set up the course. We took some chunky chalk with us and set about writing some motivational messages on the downward slope that heads towards one of the hardest parts of our course. As we put cones out we heard rumbles of thunder, saw flashes of lightning and found ourselves sheltering from the rain under the trees as it poured down, washing away our chalk :( There is something magical that happens at parkrun though…at about 8.55 the clouds part and the sun comes out, or at least the rain stops long enough for people to run 5k! Once the runners had set off, I quickly re-wrote the chalk messages and cheered people on.

To the finish

To the finish

As people pushed on in the humid conditions, we gradually cheered runners across the finish line and were delighted to present a spot prize to our 100th runner Jez, who has been supporting us almost since the start. Jez is (sadly for us) heading off on an adventure with his family in the next few weeks, I wish Jez all the luck in the world and hope to see him crossing our finish line when he visits in the future.

100th finisher!

100th finisher!

As is usual at our celebrations, people were very generous in sharing their baking skills and we were able to offer a choice of truly delicious cakes.

Refuel

Refuel

One of the best things about being involved with parkrun has been the friends I have made. I love the feeling of community I now have in my area, stopping in the street to chat to people I hadn’t met before parkrun. This friendship now extends to meeting each other at running events, racing together and also enjoying our other shared interests. Yesterday I found myself spinning through the Kent countryside with Sally, Siggy and Stephen. We have been on long rides together before, and I wanted to make sure we fixed a date in our diary for another, which happened to coincide with a challenge on Strava, the Rapha Women’s 100k Challenge. This challenge aimed to encourage as many women as possible around the world to cycle 100km on Sunday July 20th, so we had to join in!

We met early and took the train to Hayes to cut out the grim bit at the beginning. We then pedalled hard, pushed up steep and steeper hills, whizzed down the other side, paused to enjoy the view and counted the kilometres as we went. Stephen had very kindly worked out a route which – amazingly – turned out to be spot on, he had included some pretty tough hills though, so it certainly wasn’t easy going! I love a hill and can happily zoom up them but, on a 100km ride, even I was starting to feel it. The wonderful thing about these rides is having time to chat and get to know each other better, getting to know each other’s strengths, supporting and encouraging and also the amazing things you see along the way (we were taken aback when we turned a corner and were greeted by fields covered in lavender in full bloom – the smell! – and were also somewhat surprised to see a field of rhea (they’re a bit like ostriches) fluffing their feathers and showing us their splendour). I’m not sure how I would manage on a solo ride of this distance, it certainly makes a difference having friends around you, and we pushed, cajoled and boosted each other on the way round until we arrived back home with a hefty time on our clocks (my longest ride ever!).

 

Hilly Fields on Tour

Hilly Fields on Tour

Posted by: fitartist | July 14, 2014

Chasing a PB at the British 10k London Run

It would be amazing to get a good, solid night’s sleep before a race, but I doubt many people do. I didn’t, and kept waking at every noise, so was ever so slightly grumpy when my alarm went off at 6.30. I had checked the TFL website on Saturday night to find that trains from my station wouldn’t be running early enough so, once I’d sneaked out of the house as quietly as I possibly could (this didn’t stop a small sleepy-head appearing at the top of the stairs…), I cycled over to Lewisham to catch a train. I hadn’t checked my entire planned route, so found myself crowded on a tube train with a mixture of sporty people and still-drunk people, all being kicked off at Waterloo. I might have been on my way to the New Balance VIP area, but I’m sure ‘real’ VIPs don’t find themselves legging it sweatily through a city to get to the start with stress levels set at number 10!

Perfect shoes for the day

Perfect shoes for the day

When I did eventually reach The Cavalry and Guards Club on Picadilly, I was delighted to be directed upstairs by a very smiley and enthusiastic concierge, taking in the sumptuous surroundings as I climbed the wide staircase. The people at New Balance had very kindly laid on a delicious-looking breakfast, but most runners were politely sipping tea or topping up their water levels, having already had their pre-race breakfast before setting off (the big breakfast was just what I needed after the race!). At this point I was thinking less about eating and more about needing the loo, that annoying ‘I’m sure I need the loo AGAIN’ thing you do pre-race. Being in such lovely surroundings, the loo visit was actually rather nice and certainly beats a portaloo any day!

For Ladies

For Ladies

Ahead of the race starting, there were a few special moments when a procession of war horses made their way along Picadilly, accompanied by poems written by soldiers and some beautiful singing by the Military Wives Choir. From our vantage point on the balcony, we could see the crowds of colourful runners waiting patiently to start. I believe the start at last year’s race had been quite congested, but this year everything seemed to have been considered thoroughly, with each wave being slowly guided into place before setting off. I headed down to the start line and rather inelegantly clambered over a barrier (I was told to do this, I wasn’t gate-crashing, honest) and found myself right at the front, with the elites and a couple of thousand Help For Heroes runners. It was at this moment that I realised my Garmin had switched itself off and I had to try and get a signal in the 20 seconds left…I crossed the start line looking at my watch and waiting for it to get itself into gear, not a great start!

The start

The start

The crowds at this point were great, lots of really good cheering from the friends and family along one side and the runners still waiting to set off along the other. I pushed hard and tried – for a while at least – to stay near the front :) In November I ran the Movember 10k in Greenwich Park and managed a PB of 53.14 (whilst wearing a knitted moustache), so really wanted to try and beat this time, with a little goal in my head of going sub-50. This would mean consistently running 5 minute kms, but my Garmin was having trouble giving me an accurate pace, so I was going by how I felt and allowing myself to be swept along with the runners and with the enthusiasm of the crowd.

I have found, through running parkrun as much as I can, that I enjoy a familiar course and knowing where I can push and where to hold back. I had looked briefly at the map of the route for this race, and I know the roads on the course pretty well, but I was surprised at how quickly I reached the next landmark. There was plenty of twisting and turning, with a long stretch along the Embankment and a slight low-point going through Blackfriars Tunnel (where my Garmin went all silly on me). I remembered this from the London Marathon, about three miles from the end…

Now we had the treat of seeing the faster runners heading back towards Big Ben and I gave a little cheer to the front runners. In no time at all I was in the same position with thousands of other runners across the barriers, still to enjoy that turning point ahead. One thing I would suggest improving on next year is the size of the KM markers, I missed a few (this is a good thing!) and it might be nice to be able to spot them ahead to give you a little push (especially as my Garmin wasn’t giving me an accurate reading). Now I was beginning to tire a little, and the run over Westminster Bridge felt longer than it had looked on the map. As I had visualised the course ahead of the race, I had seen myself take a right turn after Big Ben and sprint towards the finish, but oh no, it was through Parliament Square and a long slog out to Victoria before I could even think about finishing! What a relief to see the finish arch and to hear the crowds. I looked up at the clock and could see that, if I legged it, I might just make it under 50 minutes. This effort involved me making a lot of noise and pumping my arms possibly more than I needed to, but I just sneaked under as the clock ticked on.

At this point, walking up towards Trafalgar Square, I realised that, when you are running this sort of distance and running hard, scenery is largely irrelevant – I saw runners ahead of me, passing through the square and really couldn’t remember having done so myself! That’s how hard I was focussing! By now I had contacted the boys and it turned out they were at the finish line, looking really hard for me at the 50 minute point. Oops! I picked up my bag and medal, drank lots of water, and hoped that the official time would show what I wanted it to show…

Obligatory medal shot

Obligatory medal shot

…it did. 49.52, 43rd lady out of 8518, 453rd overall. Chuffed.

I would like to wish a huge congratulations to my friend Helen who, five months after giving birth, was back out there yesterday and run/walking the whole course with her friend Jo. What an inspiration!

Posted by: fitartist | July 8, 2014

Vitality British 10K London Run

…is this Sunday! It’s come round so quickly, as these things do: I always think, months ahead of the event, that I will focus and train hard and have the race of my dreams. I have been focussed and have certainly been training hard, but I’m not entirely sure if this has been 10k specific. My times over 5k have steadily got faster (another PB at Hilly Fields the other week, with a 23.52 finish), but I haven’t really focussed on running further – I know I can run 10k, but I can’t see myself achieving such times over the longer distance. My speed may be helped by these colourful shoes, that certainly give me some bounce…

Speedy

Speedy

You can find out all about the NB 1080v4 here. I have worn NB shoes before and really do like them, I would recommend going up a half-size though because I find the toe-box a little tight, so you need to give your toes a bit more space to spread. These shoes feel very light and the ‘no-sew’ construction means less potential for rub and therefore blisters. Oh, and they’re pretty aren’t they?!

Here is some information from New Balance about the New Balance Village at Sunday’s race:

Runners in the Vitality British 10K London Run will be welcomed to the exclusive ‘New Balance Village’ on Sunday 13th July. New Balance, which is an official sponsor of the race, is treating runners to special incentives including access to an interactive chill out area, as well as a free sports massage for runners wearing New Balance.

The ‘New Balance Village’ will be home to a host of activities including sports massage from YourPhysioPlan.com, a network of expert independent physiotherapy practices across the UK. Together with YourPhysioPlan.com, New Balance is offering runners wearing the brand a free sports massage in a space before or after the race. Those wearing the iconic brand will also receive a free New Balance T-shirt and an exclusive discount on a 12 month membership with YourPhysioPlan.com, the only physiotherapy, massage and conditioning monthly payment plan available in the UK.

All runners are invited to celebrate after the race in the ‘New Balance Village’ chill out area, where they can play crazy golf amongst London landmarks, feast on complimentary popcorn and pose for a picture in front of Westminster Abbey and Big Ben within the photo cut out boards. Visitors to the New Balance Village can also head to the New Balance market to pick up the latest New Balance technical trainers from sports retailer Sweatshop.

All participating runners will receive a free pair of exclusive New Balance union jack trainer laces and a discount voucher for Sweatshop at the bag drop areas at the end of the race.

Samantha Matthews, New Balance marketing manager, said: “British manufacturing is a rich part of our heritage, so we’re proud to support an iconic race like the Vitality British 10K London Run.

“We want to give all runners a taste of the New Balance experience, which is why we’ve created a fun interactive area for them to celebrate after the race, as well as giving away free New Balance laces and a Sweatshop discount for all runners. We also have some great incentives lined up for all runners wearing New Balance, including a free expert sports massage to help them unwind.”

The New Balance Village will all be located at Waterloo Place, London. Runners taking part in Vitality British 10K London Run who don’t want to miss out on the New Balance race day incentives can pick up an exclusive discount on a new pair New Balance trainers with Sweatshop. Head to http://www.sweatshop.co.uk and enter code NBB10K by31st July, 2014 to receive 20% OFF all New Balance footwear and apparel.

This year the Vitality British 10k London Run is supporting Help For Heroes as its lead charity partner and will honour the 100 years since the First World War with a host of activities.

Keep up-to-date with all of the latest New Balance news on Twitter @NewBalanceUK and newbalancerunninguk on Facebook.

 

 

I have compiled a list; I like compiling lists (I especially like ticking things off my lists). This is a list of lidos and open-water swimming areas in and around London. I sat and stared at Google Maps and did some TFL searching and found that lots of these pools/ponds are a bit of a trek and, as I want to swim when it’s quieter, I would prefer to fit it in to a school day. These limitations might mean some repeats and a bit of weekend early swimming. Last week I decided to visit somewhere I have heard about many times and have wanted to visit for ages, Oasis in Covent Garden. Now, in my head the pool is on a roof and I had visions of going up, up, up in a lift, stepping out and being greeted by an expanse of blue, over-looking the skyline of London. I was a tiny bit disappointed when I walked up the steps to the reception desk and there it was, ahead of me. It is still pretty special to have a public pool in the middle of a bustling shopping area, so I got over myself and headed down to the changing room (lockers 20p, not returned).

Oasis

Oasis

This pool is interesting because you have the option of heading outside to the heated lido, or staying inside and swimming in a parallel pool, under cover. I was straight outside of course! It’s a funny one, narrow, with just a few lanes, so I walked over to the fast lane and found that the steps were taped off because they were broken – I do like to enter a pool with some degree of elegance, I’m really not a jumper. This meant I sat demurely at the edge for a bit, dangling my toes in and taking a deep breath before immersing myself with far more suddenness than I would prefer. Of all the lidos I have visited so far, this is definitely the warmest, so it wasn’t such a shock to the system. In my lane were a few other swimmers, one in a tri-suit, I waited my turn and headed out into the traffic. I have noticed a subtle shift in the short space of time I’ve been swimming ‘outdoors’. On my first couple of visits I would gasp and pant for a while and certainly wouldn’t put my face in the water until I was well and truly acclimatised, but here I found myself confidently cutting through the water and breathing normally…

…until I reached half-way and the floor appeared to fall away from me. The deep end is incredibly deep! There is no gentle slope from mid-way to deep end, just a sudden drop and, if you are scared of heights, it creates a very odd feeling in your tummy! My head came out of the water for a bit while I got used to it, and I would feel the drop each length until I had been swimming for quite some time and began to almost enjoy the sensation. I swam what I assumed to be a mile, but checked the length of the pool with the life-guard, who informed me it’s 27.5 metres long and the deep end is 3.5 metres deep! So I had managed a little further than I’ve ever swum before :)

Like the other lidos, I could sense that a lot of the swimmers are regulars, and what a lovely place this would be to pop to on your lunch break! I warmed up with a cup of tea in the cafe that overlooks the pool (not as nice as the Lido Cafe at Brockwell…) and noticed the edges of the pool filling up now with men in tight speedos, everything was getting a bit posey and a bit cruisey…so, unless you enjoy being watched as you swim, then get here early!

From above

From above

(thank you to Edward for this lovely photo he took when he was at a talk in an adjacent building. He was a bit surprised to see a pool outside!)

 

Posted by: fitartist | June 23, 2014

Adventures in Open-Water Swimming, Part 2: Brockwell Lido

On Thursday I decided I would head over to Herne Hill on Friday morning to get myself some laps at Brockwell Lido. When I woke on Friday it was slightly cooler and a little overcast, but I thought ‘Oooh, rain! Rain!’ imagining it might be fun swimming in an outdoor pool in the rain. As I made the journey after the school run, the clouds moved slowly away and the sun started to emerge. I stepped off the bus and was immediately stopped in my tracks by this beauty:

Stag

Stag

I then went up the steps to the promise of prosecco…

Nice signage

Nice lido signage

There’s a quite tantalising feeling as you approach the entrance and pass an old-fashioned turnstile exit, catching a glimpse of the bluey water. The chap on the desk was friendly and directed me to the indoor changing, where I found myself straight into conversation with a regular swimmer. I get the feeling there are lots of regulars here, with lots of camaraderie and jolly chatting going on. I talked about how I was embarking on a tour of London’s lidos, but had to cut short any detailed questioning by pointing out this was only number two! I did say that, although Charlton Lido is heated, it’s still pretty cold. A knowing look passed quickly across my fellow swimmer’s eyes as she relished the moment I stepped into ‘her’ pool…

The pool

The pool

I found the lockers at the edge of the pool (£1, returned) and sauntered slightly gingerly towards the steps. Up to my knees I went – gasp! – to my thighs – gasp! – to my waist – yelp! – and one, two, three, dunk! Well, it is most certainly colder than Charlton! This was, of course, the moment when my fellow swimmer chose to walk past, turning to me with a cheeky smile. Once I had bobbed about a bit and attempted to immerse my face, I noticed that everyone went through the same routine as they entered the water (this would make a lovely little film…). There were lanes marked out to one side, but these were being used by a club (I think it was the Windrush Triathlon Club, some wetsuit wearing going on), so the rest of us were resigned to a bit of lane-carving activity and much polite avoidance. I have noticed during my 50m pool swims that everything evens out a lot more easily over this longer distance, more time to move over and a generally more patient and respectful sort of environment. I did find the cold water quite a challenge, with my breath catching in my chest and shallow gulps stopping me putting my face in for a while, so a few breaststroke lengths before I could commit to full-face immersion.

When I did put my face in, I noticed the pool had a rough concrete surface, painted that lovely blue, with a brown line of dirt gathering along the edges and, as I approached the deep end, it suddenly came back to me that I once stood in the pool when it was empty! All those years ago, when I was an aspiring dancer at Laban, I joined a group of other dancers as we planned a performance in the then disused and run-down lido. How magical it was to climb down the steps and walk and move around in a space that had been invaded by buddleia and left forgotten and crumbling. And now here I was swimming in this space again. I carved my way through a mile of swimming, occasionally lifting my head to take in the clouds, the birds and passing planes.

The difference between water and air wasn’t as marked here as at Charlton, so I hung around a moment while two other swimmers finished in the two pool-side showers, oh the joyous feeling of warmth as the showers restore some colour to your limbs! Time for a brisk rub-down and a quick cossie-spin in the cool cossie-spin-dryer (I wish all pools had these, genius) and a saunter over to the cafe to try and reduce the blueness in my lips.

Cafe pom-poms

Cafe pom-poms

The cafe here is a bit swankier than over at Charlton, and can be accessed without a swim, so gets busy, meaning you are not always guaranteed a seat outside. This time I was actually happy to cosy up indoors and warm myself back up with some coffee and cake (I was shivering, really!).

Restorative

Restorative

And then to head home…but I can’t visit Herne Hill without popping in to the Oxfam Bookshop. Well, it is next to my bus-stop!

Posted by: fitartist | June 23, 2014

Fitness First Home Run London

I’m really lucky that I am able to run during the daytime when Hector is at school (holidays present another challenge entirely), but it can be hard finding time to run when your day is spent mostly at a desk and this working day is wrapped up in a long commute. Many people decide to fit in some training by cycling to and from work, which is great because you can carry your change of clothes and paperwork in a set of panniers and not worry too much about travelling light. I often see runners though, plodding up our road in the morning, laden down by a rucksack bobbing up and down on their back and wonder just how good that can be for their poor old spine. I might just position myself outside sometime and tell them about a great service for London runners called ‘Fitness First Home Run London‘.

This is an excellent idea for runners who want to attempt a run-commute but would prefer to run with others and also not have to worry about carrying a heavy bag or working out complicated logistics around ‘travelling light’. Runners can run all or part of the way home and their bags will be carried for them. Commuters are offered a six season calendar, organised in six week intervals, with four routes available within inner London including Bank to Clapham Junction (via Waterloo); Tottenham Court Road to Highbury; Liverpool Street to Stratford; and Canary Wharf to Waterloo (via Bank). Each route takes runners on a cityscape journey covering iconic London locations such as the Houses of Parliament, South Bank and the Gherkin. The Fitness First Home Run London guided runs started last week and commuters can sign up for six weeks for only £15.00 (12 runs in total); which includes a complimentary t-shirt and the use of the bag carrying service for every run. As Home Run’s official fitness partner, each route will start or finish at a designated Fitness First gym, and Fitness First members can participate free of charge. If you visit the website here, you can check out the routes and decide which one works for you. If I worked in central London and wanted to make sure I fitted in a set number of runs each week, I would definitely give this a try, it looks like fun…

 

Posted by: fitartist | June 16, 2014

PB smashing

Oh my. A few months ago I had a streak of PB smashing runs up at my beloved Hilly Fields parkrun. I just had a look at my parkrun stats, and it seems that my best time in 2012 was 28.33, my best in 2013 was 27.17 and, until Saturday, my best time for 2014 was 25.01. I never, ever thought I’d run a 25 minute 5k (especially not up and down those hills), so am still slightly in shock that I have achieved a time of 24.09! People were asking what I’d had for breakfast, but I hadn’t done anything new, just my usual, but there are so many factors that can give you a good or bad run. I had trained hard during the week, even going for a 10k run and a swim the day before, and had fitted in five swims over five days, so I wasn’t exactly rested! Maybe it’s the swimming, the cross training and the core work I’ve been doing, all helping me power my arms to push me up the hills.

Whatever it is, it feels great to have an enjoyable run with friends and to feel I can push myself faster, a marked contrast to last Saturday’s run where I felt like I was dragging myself around the course in the hideous humidity! I will keep up the training, eat as I always eat, try and keep up my positive mindset and enjoy each run as it comes :)

Posted by: fitartist | June 13, 2014

Fuel on the Move

I’m relatively new to this here cycling long-distance thing, and have yet to get my head round the difference between fuelling for running and fuelling for riding. Unless I’m training for a half-marathon or longer, my running fuel is pretty straight forward, and I only ever start to think about even carrying drink if I’m going over about eight or nine miles. The most I would eat on the run would be some jelly babies or maybe a gel, but fuelling-on-wheels is a very different matter. So far I have just about managed to get to grips with drinking on the move, with a weaving about, drink up the nose moment usually happening somewhere en route, and my solid fuel is usually something like this:

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding

…not exactly cycle-specific is it?! As I start to train in a more focussed fashion for the London Duathlon in September, and even, maybe, possibly think about entering a sportive (yup), maybe I should look at something I could snaffle as I go, on rides where a stop at a quaint tea-shoppe is not on the cards. What could be more fit for purpose than the official performance bar of the Giro d’Italia? The new Multipower Fruit Power Bar is crammed with fruit – made with 65% real fruit – and packs an energy-boosting 138kc per 40g bar, with 29.2g being carbohydrate (figures based on the ‘original’ flavour). Those chaps in the Giro d’Italia can consume up to 7000 (yes, really) calories a day, so are constantly having to top-up their energy supplies. Bread pudding and a pot of tea is spot on, but you just don’t see them pulling up at a road-side cafe and partaking, do you?

Power in a bar

Power in a bar

As a small, easy to carry in your jersey pocket, packed with energy bar, the Multipower Fruit Power Bar fits the bill. Personally I prefer the ‘Original’ flavour to the ‘Tropical’ and, as it has a soft and chewy consistency, you’re not going to be dropping a trail of crumbs as you ride, so hopefully getting it right where it needs to be…if you’re a good on-the-move sort of eater (I’m yet to try this). You can read all about the bars here, and maybe stock up ready for those lovely summer rides you have planned…a stage of Le Tour de Yorkshire anyone?

Posted by: fitartist | June 11, 2014

Adventures in Open-Water Swimming, Part 1: Charlton Lido

During my slightly panic-stricken pool swim at my first triathlon a few weeks ago, I thought to myself: ‘Well, my idea of participating in an open-water triathlon was a bit ambitious!’ and put it right to the back of my mind. Of course, once I’d regained my nerve, climbed out of the pool and flown my way through the other two disciplines, smiling throughout, I had forgotten all about my pool-fear and was looking to the next event, open-water or not. Realistically though, I think I need to be feeling super-confident before I dip my toes, wet-suit clad, into a lake/pond/the sea, so have decided to embark on a series of open-water adventures over the next few months, taking on a different (hopefully) venue each week. To ease myself into this malarkey with at least some level of enjoyment, I will take ‘open-water’ to mean ‘without a roof’, so this will include the lidos of London.

We’re lucky in London, with many lidos having been either lovingly cared for or lovingly restored and, from where I live in South East London, I’m just a bus or bike-ride away from two. This morning I put a moistened finger in the air, felt the warm sun on my skin and decided to bus it over to Charlton Lido. I have been to Charlton Lido before, but that was last summer and was in the company of small children during the school holidays: it was busy, bustling and noisy, a very different experience to my calm and quiet swim today. Since my last visit, there has also been some extensive building work, and there is now an excellent gym, indoor changing facilities and even a lovely sun terrace and cafe to warm up in after your swim. I would recommend registering online so you can book in advance: this saves you money and – I’m guessing – time during busy periods. I paid just £4 for my lovely 50m pool-with-a-sky swim today :) The new changing facilities are great, clean and unfussy, with the option of a pool-side cubicle if you prefer. There are lockers alongside the pool (these take 20p, which is not returned, so make sure you’ve got everything you need before closing), but I would say more lockers might be welcome as it gets busier.

The Pool

The Pool

(this photo makes it look a bit grey, but it was gloriously sunny!)

Charlton Lido is heated, but don’t expect it to feel like an indoor pool…ease yourself in gently, take a few deep breaths and keep moving! Once I’d followed those rules, I found myself doing something I don’t normally do: lying on my back, wiggling my hands and feet and sighing, I couldn’t resist looking up at the sky from the water, bliss! As you can see from the photo, there were lanes, but I decided to just swim outside the lane as it was quiet enough, and off I headed, pulling myself into the 50m expanse. This always feels slightly daunting, but I’m sure it makes for faster swimming, not turning every 25m. Something that added to my sense of joy at the experience was the sunlight pouring through the surface and creating beautiful shadows on the bottom of the pool. I was mesmerised by the ripples, the blurred shadows of other swimmers, the dancing bunting and the little concentric circles created by droplets from my finger tips. Not wanting this feeling to end, I pushed a little further until I had swum a mile.

Climbing out, I found that as soon as you exit the water, you need to jump into a hot shower or quickly wrap yourself in a towel before heading up to the cafe for a bit of post-swim warmth and refuel…

Toasted

Toasted

As I gathered my things and headed to the bus stop, I noticed that the pool had become busier, with bikini-clad young things sprawling out on beach towels, topping up their tans. On a hot day this really is Charlton-by Sea.

 

Posted by: fitartist | June 5, 2014

The Primal Kitchen

I don’t really talk much about what I eat on here, it’s all action, action, action! But all that action needs fuel and I tend to keep it simple, with a bowl of muesli with dried fruit and a cuppa for breakfast, some bread based thing for lunch and veg/meat/rice/pasta type combination for dinner, it’s all good and healthy (no booze these days and not missing it!) and freshly thrown together and it seems to give me what I need to keep active and healthy. As I tend to do my running/swimming/riding in the earlier part of the day, my breakfast usually sees me through, but I do struggle on a Tuesday when I train with the running club in the evening, I just find it impossible to fuel these runs properly. The post-school-pre-run routine is a busy one, with Hector’s swimming lesson squeezed somewhere in between. I usually opt to have a swim myself and often forget to drink or eat anything before heading out at seven o’clock, bad move!

I was, therefore, pleased to receive some pre-packaged fuel in the post, in the form of these neat little paleo bars from The Primal Kitchen.

Tasty bars

Tasty bars

My limited knowledge of the Paleo Diet tells me that I should be eating less grain-based food, sugar, processed foods and oils, and focussing more on a cleaner, more simple diet, much like that of the cave-people of old (well, what we assume was eaten by our ancestors anyway). This makes sense, but the usual high-sugar energy bar or gel would be totally ruled out here. I tend not to get on so well with gels and things anyway – they just seem too sugary and all that sweetness produces far too big a spike for my little body to process. These bars are great though, small enough to give you a boost whilst not feeling too heavy to go out and run/jump/dive/fly. I must admit to having scoffed them rather quickly, they were delicious ;) They are handmade in the UK and each bar contains no more than five ingredients, but this doesn’t mean taste is compromised. With such simple ingredients and a lack of additives, I would even give them to Hector (though I might just keep them to myself, shhhh!) AND they are gluten-free! The Primal Kitchen range launched in March and can be found in leading health-food stores and selected CrossFit Boxes and gyms at £1.49 each.

If you want to get a nice little overview of the paleo diet, there’s a great summary here.

 

 

 

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