Author Archives: lowlyj

About lowlyj

I am 58 years old with a passion for running - marathons mostly. I am also passionate about my photography, my dogs, my children and my Old Goat (aka Yster-Bok) - but not always in that order! I'm doing my best to ensure I'm capable of relentless forward motion for another 30 years and my dream is to improve my speed and endurance and earn at least two Comrades medals (one up and one down) before I clock out of this world and into the next....

Something Fishy

 

Oily fish like pilchards, tuna and salmon are the best anti-inflammatory foods on the planet. As runners with no time for sore joints and aches and pains, we need to work them into our diet at least three times a week.

I also love to find easy budget-friendly recipes that fit in with the Banting lifestyle. It’s not true that to Bant you need a huge income and access to grass fed beef and organic cream. While those things are certainly nice to have, they are by no means necessary. Anyone, with a bit of imagination and determination can regain their health by avoiding sugar, grains and processed seed oils because that, in a nutshell, is exactly what Banting is.

While paging through Sally-Ann Creed’s beautiful book “The Low-Carb Creed” I found this fish pie recipe that is super-simple, super-quick, super-nutritious and cheap to make. Ha! I do love to kill two birds with one stone!

You will need to preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a pie dish.

Your ingredients –

1 x 400 gram can of pilchards in brine, drained & mashed with a fork

1 onion chopped and fried in 30 ml coconut oil

250 ml grated cheddar cheese (optional but delicious)

3 eggs beaten with a fork

30 ml coconut flour

250 ml full cream milk

5 ml salt

ground black pepper

5 ml oregano

Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a bowl. Stir in the milk and seasoning. Pour into the greased pie dish and bake for 30 minutes. The pie will firm up out of the oven so leave it for 10 minutes before slicing.

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Banting Belly

As they say in the classics, the only good belly is a pork belly. Well,  maybe not in the classics, but it is the truth. And that pork belly should be roasted with crispy crackling and accompanied by broccoli and a creamy cheese sauce. That was my breakfast after my 14.6 kilometres on the country roads this morning.

Pace is getting better at more or less the same heart rate – *happy dance*

There are no laws against non-breakfast foods for breakfast. And that is what makes Banting such an easy lifestyle. Cook a little more than you need in the evening and breakfast/brunch the next day is sorted. Busy evening? Just have eggs and bacon, or a cheese omelette. Mix and match – as long as you stick to the basics – meat( preferably with fat on), veggies, eggs, butter and a little cream and cheese to zhuzh up the veg. These foods are nutrient dense so you don’t need a huge heap – a small plateful will keep you full for hours.

Banting is not taking out a second mortgage so that you can buy almond flour to make cakes and cookies or bread rolls. We don’t need those foods and, if you are trying to lose weight, then replacing them with “Banting” versions will stall your efforts. Banting is really just eating real food when you are hungry and not eating if you are not hungry.

Running-wise I reckon it is the only way to eat. Recovery from hard workouts is much quicker and, once you are a fat-burning beast, you can go for hours and hours in a fasted state – no nausea-inducing sugary gels and drinks required. I speak as one that competes in the tortoise category – if you prefer to be a bit more high-performance, then take a look at the Phat Bombs on this link. Phat Bombs are half the price of a gel and the effect lasts twice as long on the road – a bargain.

 

Hello Running!

My first attempt at putting in a bit of running after my six week check up – shoulder felt fine, legs felt a little shocked! This was on a dirt road loop so perhaps a slightly better pace may be found on tar. I’m in no rush though – if I play my cards right I still have another 20 years on the road! If I don’t play my cards right, you can scatter my ashes on the Comrades route where I will shuffle my way up and down for all eternity! No, let me get that right – where I will run like a Kenyan gazelle for all eternity!

 

The Magic of Walking

I have an obsessive/addictive personality which, to avoid addiction to cigars and good whiskey, I channel into my running. This is why when staring down the prospect of 6 weeks plus of no running I was terrified of slipping into a nice little affair with my couch, junk food and bad attitude on the side.  It’s all or nothing either way.

I was saved by my fitness tracker with which I am now having a torrid but healthy affair. All the major health bodies throughout the world set 10 000 steps per day as a standard for good health. I decided, using my fitness tracker, to count my steps and, from five days post-op I was up to the pre-requisite 10 000. Last week I clocked just under 120 000 steps – I just love challenging myself!

I need to share what I have learnt.

Firstly, walking is what we were evolved to do – anyone who is lucky enough to have the use of both legs can do it. If you track steps as opposed to speed or distance, it does not matter how slow you are or where you walk – it includes all your movement, walking around the mall, at the office, putting out the washing, as long as you are moving. You progress at entirely your own pace.

Secondly, if you already exercise, lets say for 45 minutes to an hour a day, running or at the gym, and then you are sedentary for the rest of the day, you are probably under your 10 000 steps. When you are tracking steps, you actually need to move more and I have found that this alone makes me feel great. I sleep better, I’m sharper throughout the day mentally, and my energy level is going to bust out the top of my head! I’ve also shed over a kg without changing anything else in my life so walking 10 000 steps or more per day is definitely a good fat-burning activity.

Fitness trackers start out at R600 (it has everything you need) and there is something to suit everyone (those Fitbits with their gorgeous bracelet-look make me drool) – check them out at Sportsmans Warehouse.

I implore you, if you have two good legs offer up a prayer of thanks and get walking! Count those steps!

CBC PROJECT #1

The Complete Balance Comrades Project is so exciting. A pilot group has signed up to test run this concept and, being September already, we are ready to rock and roll. Our attack on the Big C is a three-pronged one – proper nutrition throughout, strength work and mental focus. This is of course in addition to the normal training programme.

Our group will be guided by a successful seven-times Comrades runner and registered dietician with a Masters in Dietetics and a qualified and experienced biokineticist.

Each person will work with the dietician who will help them to reach their healthy racing weight and, more importantly, to find and practise optimal race day nutrition. Every week the bio will work with the group on strengthening exercises to help withstand the pain of a down run.

The third prong of the attack is mental focus – and this needs to come from the runner. I love the image above. It’s worth printing, laminating and sticking on one’s mirror, or treadmill for that matter.

But what is focus? Focus involves many things, mental and physical, but here are a few I have thought of with Comrades in mind:

  1.   Focus is saying no to too much alcohol, fast foods and sugary treats. It’s fine to have a glass or two of wine now and then or a slice of cake on a special birthday but if you make a habit of it, it will impact on your recovery between workouts. These things cause huge inflammation in the body which an athlete (or anyone for that matter) does not need.
  2. Focus is running easy when your program asks for easy. It’s this easy running (heart rate below aerobic threshold) that increases your ability to go further and be strong while you’re about it. We are all terribly ego-driven and running easy is something that not a lot of people get right. Don’t race too often – you need to get to that start line strong and injury-free.
  3. Focus is making sure that we organise our lives around getting plenty of sleep. Adequate sleep leads to good recovery. Good recovery leads to solid training.
  4. Focus is committing to four runs per week, come hell or high water. Bad weather is not an excuse. If you are not fully recovered from the last workout, run easy but RUN!! Or WALK! Or CRAWL!! But get out there!

#justwalk

I’m back and super-excited! My shoulder has been sliced and diced and the hole in my shoulder muscle repaired. I’ve just had my two week check up and the doc, bless him a million times, says it is perfectly fine to walk my ass off, as long as I wear my sling. The first thing I did was enter a 10km walk next weekend! Now all I have to do is get my walking speed down a bit so the 21km runners don’t lap me!

The other super-exciting thing is that in four weeks time the doc reckons I should be able to introduce a little bit of running without the sling – as long as I stick to even surfaces – no falling about on dirt trails, etc. Fine, I can do that.

What is more, I have found the silver lining in this particular cloud. The theory goes that every runner, when starting out, should build a big aerobic base. This involves running very easy at below one’s aerobic threshold – zone 2 to the lower end of zone 3 on the heart rate monitor. As the kilometres rack up at a low heart rate we build an aerobic base making running at all speeds easier. As this base builds, a person should be able to run faster and faster at that low heart rate, which means being able to go for far longer before tiring, whilst avoiding overtraining.

What this boils down to is that I am turning this whole shoulder debacle into a scientific experiment where n = 1. I will use the month of only walking and then a further month of only a little running and lots of walking to try and build this aerobic base. If the experiment is successful I will be taking the running world by storm come November!

Burning fat and increasing aerobic base

 

Breakfast on Swartmodder

Sunday means long, slow distance, or LSD for those that want to sound racy. We parked right on top of the Swartmodder Pass, ran down 7 to 8 km and then back up, and up and up…..Guess who did only 7 km *lol*. I was lured by the thought of Chocolate Brownies (Banting-friendly of course) with cream and cappuccino at the top. And it worked!

Swartmodder is the training ground of Ninjas. I’m not sure if I actually belong with said Ninjas but it’s beautiful up there and I’ll be hanging around for a while to come!