Category Archives: running

My Running Journey

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!




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!


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!



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.




Broth 101

Sometimes life is just too short to be hunting for celery, carrots, the egg of a virgin quail etc etc. So I have simplified my broth recipe to beyond simple – just make sure you always have fresh garlic and onions in your house!

STEP ONE – roast and eat one happily-raised farm chicken (I know of two local suppliers btw), and store carcass and any bones in the freezer.

STEP TWO – repeat step one when convenient.

STEP THREE – Place the two carcasses in your slow cooker, along with two onions and several cloves of garlic. You don’t even peel the garlic and onions – just chop in half and throw in the pot. Everything will be drained off in the end.

STEP FOUR – throw in a small handful of course salt and cover the carcasses with water – about 3 litres should do the trick. Put slow cook on low and leave for 16 to 24 hours.

STEP FIVE – drain off the bits and pieces and VOILA there is your broth. You can keep it in the fridge for a week or you can freeze.

Bone broth is a superfood – anything that can carry someone 89 km at Comrades is a superfood, but this superfood is for EVERYONE. It is anti-inflammatory, wonderful for the joints, it replaces important electrolytes, it heals your gut – there is no one that will not benefit from drinking it every day.

Swartmodder – still not my bitch!

If you read the latest RunnersWorld you will see that formal running clubs are terribly last season.  You now need a cru, bru. A cru is a small informal running group that does hardcore stuff. They love to run the inner city at night, that sort of thing. Well we got no inner city here but we do have Swartmodder and this is my cru:

To make Swartmodder your bitch you need to run from the gate of Truant Farm to a certain gate at the top and then make it back down to Truant in under two hours. You then get the following tattoo on your left shoulder:

Or, my personal favourite, this gorgeous mountain wolf:

And then you a part of the cru, bru.

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.