This is one I got from Nigel Slater. The chickpeas and the bacon provide the all important protein the muscles need to recover and regenerate and the mediteranean produce provides sustinance when it’s all to tempting to reach into the cupboard and stuff your face full of stodge and junk. Rich in lycopene, which aids the strength, thickness and fluidity of cell membranes, as well as a great source for antioxidant’s. Lycopene is also linked with the prevention of cancer. Sure, there’s a few bad guys in there, like a generous pouring of olive oil and feta cheese and of course the bacon but we need a bit of everything in our lives, and there’s no need to be afraid of any kind of food’s, we need them all. Except crisps – be very afraid of crisps!
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 – Pepper (any colour)
1 – Stick of Celery (or courgette, cucumber)
6 – Cherry tomatoes
1 – Small chilli
2 – Rashes of bacon
Half a tin of chickpeas (pre-soaked)
1 – Teaspoon garam massala
1 – tbsp olive oil
A handful of basil leaves
Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat and add the garam massala.
Cook the Bacon under the grill until well done and crunchy.
Chuck in the chopped vegetables and the chickpeas into the frying pan.
Toss the veg around until nicely cooked.
Add the bacon to the frying pan and then the basil leaves.
Fry for a minute or two, season, and serve, not forgetting a sprinkle of feta.
After a few weeks of colossal events: our wedding, followed by a wonderful honeymoon in Egypt (which I will be posting pictures of soon of course), it’s time to get back in to the swing of a much missed routine. After a long, hot and much needed break in Egypt, I’ve just returned from an ‘easy’ ride, just under 20 miles, and after such a long rest which I was badly in need of, I felt great on the bike and put a pretty decent time in. Which got me to thinking about the benefits of rest and relaxation. Rest is indeed as important as the training and it’s something that I definitely don’t take heed of enough. Resulting in injuries that,whilst not debilitating, can be massively frustrating and then lead to bouts of depression because you cannot go out there and do the things you want to do, when you want to do them.
The endorphins that are released during exercise are a wonderful feeling. It’s funny, because during the ride, I experience incredible pain in the form of fatigue and I feel I want to push myself harder and go faster and it’s not a pleasant sensation as we all know, but when I get to the end of the ride I feel like I’ve achieved something and my body and my mind are stronger as a result of the pain I’ve just endured. I’m assuming that this is a result of ‘endorphins’ that my body produces..?
This post is to remind myself of the benefits of rest. It is important. Today I felt fresh and fit and that’s after a couple of weeks of less than a perfect lifestyle. I remember lying on the beach towards the end of the holiday and feeling completely rested, I found new levels of relaxation and at the end I was ready to come home. I feel good and raring to hit the regime once again. Balance, balance, balance, not only with nutrition but physical training as well. Muscles improve during rest, not when they are under the strain of training. They work hard during the activity and recover and repair themselves to a stronger state. so a more intelligent approach to rest isn’t such a bad thing.
A long, long time has passed since my last post. Now, this is due to a number of things, the main reason being – we got married! Now I don’t want to post a long, gushing account of how great it was, but, it was amazing. Totally amazing and far exceeded any expectation I or we could ever have had. What I’ll do is post some pictures later on when they’re all collected and collated.
But, another reason for a lack of posts over the last few months is quite simply it’s the summer and although I’ve kept a keen eye on my favourite websites and blogs, I have been a reader as a pose to a writer. I’ve been out on the bike a lot during the last few months which has resulted in the gym and the pool and the mountains taking a backseat, although I have made an appearance here and there. There really is just not enough time in this world and to much stuff to do.
A healthy lifestyle is very important to me and I’d like to recommend a blog that I’ve been following for a few weeks, betterfitpersonaltraining.com. Happy to answer any questions and provide help and expert advice on all things healthy; nutrition, diet, exercise, recovery etc etc.. Really good stuff on this blog for anyone who takes their sport and lifestyle seriously.
I’m loving life on a bike at the moment, doing as many miles as my spare time (and my legs) will allow. Sportives, time trials and weekend rides are the flavour of the month and I’m loving every minute. Check out my video of the first half of the 2012 season http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGBx0CYGjak
I intend to post some recipes I’ve come across over the last few weeks, more for my own benefit but hope they help others..
Another day, another injury. The iliotibial band is the large, tough tendon that runs from the hip, down the outer back of the leg to the fibia. At the knee it passes the bony protrusion on the outside of the knee called the lateral femoral epicondyle. Depending on technique, continuous sessions of prolonged running/cycling can cause the iliotibial band to rub against the femoral epicondyle, resulting in inflammation of the tendon and causing pain. This condition is called Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome.
An exaggerated ‘toe in’ riding style, I am certain, has contributed to my ITBFS. ‘Toe in’ simply meaning that when my feet are in the pedals, my toes are pointing to far in towards my front wheel and my heels are to far out. In even simpler terms, albeit exaggerated, five to five on the clock face. For me, five past seven is a better riding position, but everybody is different, I would suggest taking note of your natural gait, see how your foot falls naturally when you walk and adopt that to your pedal position.
Now, with any tendon related issue, rest and lots of it is the best remedy; but after two years of sport restricting patella tendonitis rest is out of the question. After highlighting the problem and changing technique, I’m banking on this sorting it out. check out the picstures to find ways to stretch the iliotibial band.
Alright, far to long since I’ve posted anything on here, and now, admittedly it is encouraged by an opportunity to use my new laptop; but as well as retail therapy, physical therapy has been going on in the form of some serious training and a lot of cycling. All of which is done with the greatest of care and consideration for my clapped out knees (see previous post). And my knees, in actual fact have not felt as good as they do now for well over two years; I’ve resigned myself to not playing tennis or doing any running probably ever again, which is a shame, but on the flip side it means I can continue hiking without having to suffer in to much pain – hopefully.
In the gym I’ve been swimming, rowing and cycling. The swimming I enjoy immensely; the rowing, I think, is the hardest thing in the gym, but the controlled knee bend and extension as opposed to the jerking and jarring of tennis or a run is what I think is helping the recovery, building up the upper leg muscles to support the tendon. I hope it continues.
The purpose of this post is to highlight a brand new obsession. Cycling. full on lycra clad, backside punishing, leg shaving cycling; all except the leg shaving: for the time being anyway. So far, I’ve resisted shelling out a large fortune on a brand new bike and have stuck to my trusty Peugeot. Temptation looms. If it wasn’t for the wedding I’d have signed on the dotted line days ago! Glossy mags and buddies bikes are like sporting Razzle.
Forty miles is the furthest I’ve gone so far but a planned race in April demands sixty tough, undulating miles on the fells of the Lakes and I can’t wait. Watch this space. Cycling isn’t for everyone, to be honest I didn’t get it before. It’s expensive as hell and it hurts, which every sport should. If it doesn’t, your not doing it properly.
Back in October, we took a few days out in the New Forest to check out the local wildlife and kick back the cobwebs. Situated in the Hampshire countryside just north of the south coast of England, the New Forest is host to England’s most concentrated population of wild deer. Fallow, sika and red deer all share the forest with an abundance of other spectacular wildlife. The landscape really is unique, in the way that it isn’t all dense forest and woodland but large open moorland and grassland; so the famous forest ponies have plenty of grazing to chew on.
The trip’s accomadation came courtesy of our caravan so the nights were short due to there being no electric hook up and the battery ran more or less flat on the second day, preventing any electric lighting. The mornings were bitterly cold, dropping below freezing on more than one occasion. This meant no lie-in’s! Up and about straight away was the only way to keep warm. I got up and got a fire going most days before the sun came up. It was warmer eating breakfast outside by the fire than it was in the van, and far more serene and picturesque with the birds starting their day and coming to life all around us. There was a pair of buzzards that hung out in the next field and would call as they flew around above our heads. The mornings were a highlight for me, making the fire and watching the wildlife at it’s most active part of the day – great!
After thawing out by the morning fire we ventured off for our morning walk, mainly to try and find some deer, and we found them, surprisingly enough! The woodlands are literally full of them but they are incredibly hard to spot. Only if they move can you see them and if they haven’t spotted you first. If your downwind of them, they are on to you well before your anywhere near and they slip away, just out of sight. The best sighting we had was of a stag when we were hunting down a geocache. Unfortunately it was injured, which was probably why we got close and had a good view. It was clear it was hiding from us, preferring not to move unless it had to, and when we got to close it limped off back into the woods.
Geocaching was our favourite pastime during the break. It’s really grown in popularity over the last ten years or so with the increase in affordable handheld GPS (global positioning satellite) devices and mobile phone apps. Caches are hidden and their co-ordinates are posted on the internet, then cachers punch in the co-ordinates on their devices and go out into the countryside and track them down, combining a nice country walk with a little added adventure. There are varying degrees of caches, from the simplest to the most difficult. Some being as easy as pulling over on the side of the road and finding the cache to others being hidden at the top of a mountain. A log book to record the date and name of the successful finder and small trinkets are left in the cache; if you take something make sure to put something else back in, like a trade.
All in all, a very successful trip. Lot’s of wildlife and great scenery. The birdlife really is abundant, every time you look up you can see something different and interesting; from jays to buzzards, tits and finches, we even saw a goldcrest, a first for us both. I’ll leave you with some of the best shots.
My first foray into the world of JLB; not an author I was at all familiar with. Recommended by Simon Mayo’s book club on Radio2, a source I find trustworthy and reliable. It seems I lag behind the crowd once again, as the main protaginist in the book, Dave Robicheux, has appeared in no less the eighteen of JLB’s stories, two of which have been adapted into movies starring Alec Baldwin. Oh well, must have been asleep that day!
Set in the deep south of America, Lousiana, Robicheux tracks the culprit of a series of murders of disadvantaged girls, one of which doesn’t seem to keep within the modas operandi. Robicheux becomes involved with the case in personal capacity when his daughter becomes involved with one of the prime suspect’s. And prime suspect is just the phrase because there are shades of Lynda La Plante throughout the story and that is not a critcism. If you are going to read the book DO NOT read on because I’m about to divulge a major thread. Repeat, here comes the spoiler. As with La Plante novels, and episodes of Columbo, the villain has been identified, and the story revolves around the disection of the investigation, as well as Robicheux’s personal demons.
Robicheux’s friend and investigative partner, Clete Purcell, is an intriguing character, wonder if we’ll get a novel based on him soon. Rhat i would like to read.
Overall, a satisfying read. Peters out in the middle after a good start but builds to a dramatic end, enjoyed..
Here are just few pictures of a little owl nest we found in the hole of a tree, surprisingly close to the road. I had to climb the tree to get the shots but was as quick as I could so as not to cause to much distress.
In the next shots, there are two owls; you can just about make out the tail of another hiding behind the one in view.