Ultra Trail

Oh my word, I have entered a 50-miler – on trail!

Whenever I think of ultra trail I think of annoyingly fresh-looking vegans (why are they always vegans?) gliding over the Colorado      mountains, looking very happy with themselves. I’m sure they also do CrossFit. A far cry from my huffing and puffing and screaming hysterically about snakes, cliffs and other hazards.

Good Lord! I suddenly need to gather all the information that I can about running trail for 12 hours and possibly a lot longer. I also have to finish an assignment for a writing course and I do love to kill two birds with one stone. I will do an article about 50-milers for beginners! After spending hours scouring the internet and reading blogs, articles etc by the North American gods of trail I came up with the following:


Forget kilometres covered and pace. Measure your training by time on the trail. You cannot judge or worry about pace when your terrain is changing rapidly. Stress is an energy-sapper. Concentrate on keeping your body relaxed.


Trying to run the hills will sap your energy very quickly. Practise    power walking up the hills and running fast downhill.


Run by feel and listen to your breathing. Huffing and puffing uncomfortably means slow down or take a walk, even if you are on a flat section. Remember that in this situation you need to be a tractor, not a Ferrari. Save your energy for the dark hours!


Find yourself a comfortable hydration pack with pockets for jacket, torch, food, cellphone and other necessities. Train often with this pack, fully weighted.


Gels will not get you through your 50-miler. You will feel nauseous after several hours. Find real food options that you enjoy and practise eating them on your long runs. Nuts, raisins, banana and homemade energy/protein bars are all good options.  How will you replace electrolytes? Find something that works for you and train with it.


The trick is to pace yourself carefully. If you run above your aerobic threshold, you run the risk of hitting a wall due to lack of glycogen. If you keep your pace constantly below aerobic threshold, your body will be burning fat and even the skinniest of us has enough fat to get through 80 kilometres. This makes the fuelling problem a lot easier. Practice this type of slow running on your weekend long runs. Keep the speed work for the shorter runs during the week.


It is possible to train for a 50-miler on an average of 50 to 60      kilometres per week. The focus should be on weekend distance, preferably on trail, building to three or four trail runs of five hours each with a last long outing of eight hours before the taper begins.


Last but certainly not least is strength training. You will need two to three sessions per week, concentrating on core and leg strength.  Fast downhills need very strong quads and power walking up steep hills needs strong glutes. Neglect them at your own risk!




Running for Brownies

The running gurus say that every run should have a purpose or a goal – it can be to add speed intervals, do hills, run at tempo pace, go long, the list goes on. My goal today? Running to earn chocolate brownies and cappuccino afterwards – with cream!

All Banting-approved, and while the picture of the brownies is not mine, the recipe is:

Melt together 52 grams of coconut  oil and 58 grams of butter. Beat 3 eggs with 200 ml xylitol. Add the beaten eggs to the melted fats and stir in 1/2 cup of cocoa powder. Mix well.

To this mixture add 4 tablespoons coconut flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup of sugar-free chocolate chips. I did not have the latter in my kitchen so I stole one of my Old Goats’s slabs of 70% dark Lindt and used that instead – way better than the choc chips I reckon – very decadent! Stir everything together very well using 2 tablespoons of milk if the mixture becomes too dry. Try not to heap the tablespoons of coconut flour as this is what drys things out.

Spread the mixture in a 9″ x 5″ baking dish and bake for 30 to 40 mins at 180 degrees Celsius. You need to watch – once the middle is no longer jiggling around it’s ready!

These brownies are even better when you leave them in the fridge overnight and better still served with thick farm cream!

And it wan’t a bad run either – I still felt strong after my 15 kays, and that is my new goal – to always feel STRONG!




Okay, I Have A Problem….

Look what I’ve got – oh joy!

If you cut it into 20 portions each portion is 1.2 grams of carb, 8 grams fat and 4 grams protein.

Peanut butter is an “eat occasionally” food as it is very high in omega 6 as opposed to omega 3. In order to eat an anti-imflammatory diet we need to up the omega 3’s – fatty fish remember!

I’m either going to have to eat a can of pilchards a day to balance my peanut butter fetish or go into some sort of rehab facility where I’ll go cold turkey – and that will only happen if I can find a place that is extremely luxurious and serves wine with the evening meal!


Fish Curry with Sweet Potato and Fresh Coriander

Okay, okay, I know that I do go on about eating oily fish but it is hugely important in reducing inflammation and avoiding sore and stiff joints.

I also know that Gordon Ramsay is not rushing to curry tinned fish so relax you food snobs out there! If you can afford smoked salmon, some nice haddock or fresh seared tuna, get on with it. If you can’t, try this fish curry – by far the best way I have dressed up my Lucky Star yet!

Steam chunks of sweet potato for about 30 minutes until soft and put aside to add to the curry later.

Fry an onion in a tablespoon of coconut oil for a few minutes. Add a teaspoon or two of masala, some turmeric, cumin and any other spices you like with a curry. Fry for a few minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of ginger and garlic mix and fry for another few minutes.

Add half a tin of tomatoes, one teaspoon of xylitol and half a cup of chicken stock. Mix well and then add two tins of middle cut in brine. Add the steamed sweet potatoes and cook for 15 minutes to let all the flavours blend nicely.

Serve with chopped coriander.


Ninja Pants


Look what I found in my wardrobe – my daughter’s Comrades pants! Without further ado I popped them on for my long run this morning. Surely they will give me the same Ninja properties that said daughter displays year after year? I did feel amazingly strong, imagining my feet flying over that iconic route but my TomTom is really a cruel beast with no imagination at all:

So I’m still a tortoise, but maybe a Ninja Tortoise. The Ninja Tortoise is closely related to the Ninja Turtle and, if you happen to be a child of the Eighties, you will know that a Ninja Turtle is really, really cool! Run on Ninja Tortoise!



Creamy PB Delight

Now I know this does not look very inspiring, but I can assure you it tastes like heaven, gives a healthy dose of good fat, a moderate dose of protein, is low in carbs and will carry you through from breakfast to lunch with the greatest of ease! The secret ingredient – peanut butter!

Here is my recipe:

2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt, 1 tablespoon double thick cream,           1 tablespoon Black Cat crunchy peanut butter, 1 tablespoon dessicated coconut, 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds and 1 teaspoon xylitol. Mix together and enjoy.

This mixture will give you 7 grams of carbs, 30 grams of healthy fat and 10 grams of protein – perfect proportions.

If you have recently switched to low carb eating and you are feeling fatigued, one of the first things you should look at is your fat intake. Low carb and low fat is a recipe for disaster -try increasing your fat. You don’t have to sit down with a spoon and a tub of lard – just add things like my Creamy PB Delight!

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanuts are a legume. Legumes were on the original Red List – a big no-no for us Banters. They have been subsequently moved to the   Orange B list – the list for peeps that have lost weight, that train more, that are not that insulin-resistant etc.

A controlled amount of peanut butter is a good way of adding healthy fat, magnesium, Vitamin E and Vitamin B3 to the diet. The key word here is controlled. No, you may not snort up half a jar while you wait for the kettle to boil.

What better way to eat PB than in cookie form?  Here goes:

Beat 2 eggs with 100ml xylitol and then blend in one cup of peanut butter, 50 ml coconut flour and 50 ml dessicated coconut. Drop blobs onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake at 160 degrees C for 20 minutes.

This makes 26 cookies. Each cookie has only 1.7 grams carbs, 6 grams of fat and 3 grams of protein which makes them perfect for pre or post run snacks, or lunch boxes. I’m going to use them for my pre-race brekkies this weekend.